TNF #112: Idle time for the brain

Welcome Professionals…

…I definitely find myself guilty of this. I am not giving enough idle time to my brain as I should. In order to increase productivity and make the most out of my time, I am tempted to schedule out my full day with conversations, problem solving time, writing and so on. I even use commuting time or workouts for listening to audio books or taking online skills training. This is generally very rewarding because of a feeling of high efficiency. However, it can turn out to be highly ineffective when the balance of idle time gets lost.

I have discovered that my best creative ideas happen in idle time. I find solutions to problems that have been bugging me for days at times when I am not actively thinking about a solution. I make decisions or new plans when I let my mind wander without any clear directions.

idle time

While – thanks to our smartphone – it is difficult for anybody to shut of distractions these days, it is especially challenging in top management consulting. Huge amount of information and data to process with tight deadlines, excessive meeting time, solutions to be found for pressing problems, and on top of all this: deprevation of sleep.

Even more so, it is important that we as top management consultants make our minds wander from time to time. The job requires creativity, intuition and judgment – traits which will increase enourmously by taking some deliberate idle time exercise.

When did you recently have one of these idle times:

  • taking a walk or a slow run without listening to music or other distractions

  • looking out of the window, gazing at the landscape while on a train ride

  • standing and watching people pass-by while waiting for a client appointment

Enjoy these times for the sake of higher effectiveness!


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